Keepers of the Quaich award for Kartik Mohindra

Kartik Mohindra, CMO, Pernod Ricard India Pvt. Ltd., shares his feelings on receiving the Keepers of the Quaich award and the raison d etre for the company’s performance this year.

Congratulations and what does the Keepers of the Quaich award mean to you?

Thank you! As, Keepers of the Quaich, our mission is to uphold and celebrate the values and image of Scotch whisky globally. Collectively, the international society represents many thousands of years of experience and knowledge of Scotch whisky. I am honoured to join the distinguished Keepers and Masters, and together, commit to preserve and promote the world’s finest distilled spirit, the Scotch whisky. I look forward to actively participating and celebrating Scotch whisky both in India and abroad.

How would you rate the company’s performance until June 2019? What are the indications of the next year’s growth?

At PRI, our domestic as well as international whisky portfolios are witnessing double-digit growth. The international brands portfolio is surely seeing faster growth vis-a-vis the domestic counterparts. Having said that, we have successfully capitalised on the burgeoning wave of premiumisation. To continue our dominance in the international brands. We have introduced Chivas XV in the super premium bottled in origin scotch, the super-premium gin, Monkey 47, and the three new single malts in India – Aberlour, Scapa and Longmorn to stay at the forefront to meet the consumers’ needs and strive in changing market dynamics.

We capitalise every consumption opportunity with our expansive portfolio and drive premiumisation. Our flagship brands like Royal Stag, Blenders Pride, 100 Pipers, Jameson, Chivas Regal, Absolut, Royal Salute, are brands with purpose and values of authenticity, legacy and craftsmanship.

India, as you know, with over 1.3 billion population, offers a huge opportunity pool of consumers with varied tastes and preferences, segmented by their demographic and income strata. PRI’s expansive portfolio caters to this very diverse group across price points – ranging from the value consumer going for Imperial Blue, Deluxe consumer to Royal Stag, Premium consumer (Blenders Pride, BP Reserve) to the ultra luxury consumers opting for Royal Salute, The Glenlivet and Chivas Regal 18.

The Indian millennial consumers present an exciting opportunity for us. Outburst of trends such as increase in cocktail explorations, and consumption of different liquor categories by the same consumer have exemplified the experimental nature of millennials. To selectively cater to these new consumers, PRI’s portfolio has an offering of aspirational brands – flavourful Absolut vodka, gin – Monkey47 and Beefeater and Jacobs Creek Wine. Further, India presents immense scope through untapped geographical territories. These could prove to be great growth engines in the future. We foresee this category buoyancy to continue and grow in strong double digits.

How can the industry work together to boost the growth of the alcobev industry?

In comparison to several global markets, India faces higher incidence of taxation leading to out-of-reach end consumer prices; consequentially decelerating adoption and premiumisation.

The alcobev industry, albeit facing challenges of accessibility, also offers room for improvement in making the products available to consumers, with a wider retail footprint. The industry forces can come together towards building more favourable duty structures and regulations, leading to enhanced consumer demand.

How has Pernod Ricard been able to withstand the disruptions that have plagued the industry in the last few years?

Pernod Ricard India’s brands have preserved their footholds as category leaders, complemented by our strong consumer connect, great quality and innovation in products in the industry while catering to every consumption opportunity with our expansive portfolio. These factors coupled with our premiumisation strategy, has certainly helped PRI in withstanding the disruptions.

What is your product strategy for future growth? Given the low consumer confidence sentiment do you see a blip in the premiumisation strategy?

Globally, India offers one of the largest growth potential in spirits consumption. This leads to greater opportunities in a wider range of segments, both mature and emerging. We expect premiumisation to continue strongly in the foreseeable future, due to a positive long-term demographic and socio-economic trends led by a young and growing consumer population, rising middle and affluent class and increasing purchasing power, rapid urbanisation, and rise in Alcobev consumption by women. PRI with its brand offerings will continue to drive premiumization across categories and price points.

Given the trade wars happening worldwide, do you see the lowering of duties on Scotch or US alcobev brands?

The lowering of tariffs or duties will ultimately deliver benefits to the consumers, positively impacting the affordability. The economic conflicts in trade are a matter of bilateral discussions between the countries or the governments.

Which have been your star brands and on what brands do you plan to focus next year?

For us, every brand in our vast portfolio of domestic and imported brands are vital. Like I mentioned earlier, we continue to focus on driving premiumisation and with our consumer centric approach and the changing consumer dynamics led by millennials and generation Z, we believe that we have the right portfolio mix which will focus on creating informative-engaging experience and connect with this generation, striving for a great experience at various touchpoints, be it travel retail, liquor shops or high-end restaurants.

We, at Pernod Ricard, are always in line with the evolving consumers’ attitude and preferences that are occasioned by the constant variation in the living standards and global trends. The Glenlivet, Jameson Irish Whiskey, Wine portfolio led by Jacob’s Creek and Campo Viejo and Blenders Pride will be the key growth engines in the year.

How has your digital marketing strategy helped in sales growth?

With increasing aspirations, disposable incomes and exposure to global brands, the Indian millennial consumers present an exciting opportunity for us. Five out of six millennials connect with companies on social media and spend about 25 hours per week online. We will leverage our strengths in consumer marketing through digital media and continue to lead and drive consumer preference and connect with millennials through brands such as Royal Stag, Blenders Pride, 100 Pipers, Chivas Regal, Monkey 47, Absolut, Jameson, Ballantine’s, Beefeater, Jacob’s Creek, and Campo Viejo, to name a few.

Kartik Mohindra Now a Part of Keepers of the Quaich, a Global Celebration of Scotch whisky

The global success of Scotch whisky has been celebrated with new members of the Keepers of the Quaich being inducted into the international society at a private ceremony held at Blair Castle in Blair Atholl. Kartik Mohindra, Chief Marketing Officer, Pernod Ricard India, has been firmly inducted as The Keeper, in recognition of the outstanding commitment to Scotch Whisky. To preserve the unique cachet and exclusivity of The Keepers, New Keepers and Masters are inducted at a private ceremony held in the Scottish Highlands. This is the 61st Ceremony and Banquet to take place here. Collectively, the society represents many thousands of years of experience and knowledge of Scotch whisky. The Keepers of the Quaich is an international society which was established by the Scotch whisky industry to celebrate the outstanding commitment of those who produce and promote the world’s ­finest distilled spirit. Only a limited number of people are inducted as Keepers each year in recognition of their exceptional contribution. To date, just over 2,800 men and women from more than 100 countries have received the honour. Together with the select few that are subsequently distinguished as Master of the Quaich, they represent thousands of years of shared experience and knowledge.

“As Keepers of the Quaich, our mission is to uphold and celebrate the values and image of Scotch Whisky globally. I am honored to join the distinguished Keepers and Masters, and together, commit to preserve and promote the world’s finest distilled spirit, the Scotch Whisky. I look forward to actively participating and celebrating Scotch Whisky both in India and abroad,” said Kartik Mohindra at the prestigious honour.

Keepers of the Quaich supports international chapters of the society in 10 key markets around the world – where members continue to promote the prestigious image of Scotch whisky.

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